Westworld has often operated on multiple, simultaneous timelines, but that doesn't seem to be the case for when Westworld season 3 takes place. There won't be any "whoa, that was the past all along" twists this time. Very little, if any, time has passed since Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) left Westworld in season 2. The story is picking up pretty much right where she left off.
So it's still the future, but not any further in the future than we've seen so far. At least, that's what Wood, as well as showrunners and Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy revealed to Variety. “It’s a lot more linear this season,” Wood told the publication. Nolan insisted to fans that they haven't dumbed down the narrative with this new approach. It's just a different vibe this season, and that vibe happens to include fewer time jumps and secret flashbacks. The Variety article doesn't reveal much about the new season, but hints that in Nolan and Joy's futuristic society there is an app like Uber, but for crime. Fun!
Oh, and if you were wondering, Westworld fans have figured out that the present day events of the show happen in the year 2052. Around June, to be specific. That also means that the park opened two years ago, in 2018 when the Man in Black (Ed Harris) was still William (Jimmi Simpson). Yikes! Anyway, unless more than six months have passed since the Host uprising, you can bet that season 3 takes place in 2052 as well.
Meanwhile, back on the Island, Maeve (Thandie Newton) has been reactivated after sacrificing her life so that Hosts could go to the Valley Beyond. She's still in the park in the present and only timeline. The trailer for season 3 shows her and Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) running around a new Delos destination modeled after Nazi-occupied Italy in the '40s — which is really just a reminder that fans have only seen half of the parks on this Island. Who knows what's been going down elsewhere.
There's only one loose end with the whole timeline thing. What the heck was that post-credits scene with old William and Emily (Katja Herbers) all about? Was that not a flash-forward? Is he not a Host in that scene? When exactly was William injured by Dolores and how long after that was he put in a prison just like the one that held his father in-law? The interrogation with Emily definitely was happening in the future; so if there aren't any time jumps in season 3 it might be a long while before we see it again.
But hey, no matter when it takes place and how many timelines there aren't, it wouldn't be Westworld without a little mind-bending mystery.